Posted: May 30, 2011 6:15 PM by Maddie Garrett
Updated: May 30, 2011 6:32 PM
For this Memorial Day, 79 World War Two veterans got the chance of a lifetime to visit our nation's capitol and the memorials there as part of Louisiana Honor Air's final flight.
As they emerged from the plane in Washington D.C. it was a hero's welcome for some of our nation's greatest military men and women.
"Unbelievable, believe me. When we hit that airport, I was overwhelmed really," said Rene Duhon, WWII veteran.
It was the trip of a lifetime for these soldiers, marines and sailors as they got a chance to visit the National World War Two Memorial and pay their respects one last time.
"I'm glad I lived long enough to see it," said WWII veteran Eustace Marronneaux.
"It's beautiful and it's got so much meaning to it... Had it not been for this flight I would not have seen this," said Dudley Duhon, another WWII veteran on the trip.
For these vets the war is still fresh in their minds; it doesn't seem like it ended nearly 65 years ago.
"I remember D-Day because I was there, and that's what it brings back to me," said Marroneaux.
For many of the Honor Air Veterans, seeing the Memorial stirs up many emotions and even tears.
"It's emotional, it's emotional for me," said Rene Duhon.
Most of those memories centered around the 4,000 gold stars at the Memorial that represent their brothers and sisters in war that never made it home.
"The many, many stars, the persons those stars represent, we can never, never repay their lives," said Rene Duhon.
On this Honor Air trip, each veteran wears a hat that reads "For a debt that can never be repaid." It's to signify the sacrifices of our service men, women and families.
"They will never be forgotten so we should not forget them," said Rene Duhon.
As a dying generation of veterans paid tribute to their comrades lost and the victories won so long ago, they said it will be a trip they'll never forget.
"Words... it's hard to describe. I almost want to tear up," said Dudley Duhon.
And they said one of the most memorable aspects of the trip was the warm welcome and cheers of appreciation that greeted them at every turn.
"The main thing is the people, they've been so nice. Everywhere you go, they shake your hand, 'thanks for your help.' We did what we could you know, it's been wonderful," said Marronneaux.